Yes, it’s early December, and the semester is rapidly coming to a close. You know what that means, exams galore, soon to be Finals, and registration for Spring.
If you’re a freshman, you might not know all the best system for picking out your classes, and you have yet to experience the fun times that await you when trying to get ISIS to do your bidding at 7 AM on that fateful day. Yet, what is most important as the going gets really tough here at Hopkins is remembering to have a sense of clarity. I can only speak to my experiences in my past semesters here, but here is what I have done to make course selection that much less stressful for me.
· Start early- contact your advisor LONG before the courses are even posted so that you can get an appointment that works for you and you can maybe even make two appointments. You can use one to flesh out what your goals are for the semester, and then the second one can be used to look over different potential schedules.
· Plan ahead- You never know which courses you’ll actually get on registration day, trust me, so it pays to have three or four different versions of a semester schedule that you could conceive of taking. Spring 2011 semester, when I tried to register, I got into 0 of the classes I had on my original schedule and PANICKED. Oddly enough, the classes that I ended up randomly picking in the ISIS aftermath turned out to be some of the best classes I have ever taken.
· Get sleep the night before- I cannot tell you the number of times my friends have tried to pull all nighters right before registration. One friend in particular was so tired from staying up the night before that she had everything highlighted to quickly hit register, but accidentally hit delete from cart at 7 AM. Classes fill up within a matter of seconds, so by the time she could re-add everything to her cart and hit register, most of the classes had filled up.
· Enjoy the journey- Though 99% of people won’t end up in a situation where they get none of the classes they tried to register for, those instances can really be blessings. I was actually able to take a literature class last Spring that I would not have ever considered taking just because I could not get into a single class I had planned on taking. I always loved English literature, I loved history, but I’m double majoring and I’m pre med, so the kind of spare time that I have to take electives is pretty limited. In light of my course struggles, I found out that quite a few writing intensive classes in the English department can count for pre med requirements, and I ended up being able to take Literature in History. Let’s just say it was wonderful to combine pleasure reads and schoolwork for once in my academic career.
There’s not much you can do to control how your course selection turns out, but you can control how you react to it. It’s just not worth the stress. If you can look beyond the academics and learn to roll with life’s punches, you’ll be in much better standing for coping with the many things that will come your way as a college student. And if you ever want advice on picking your classes from fellow students, talk to some of the PEEPs! We’re in all kinds of classes and we love to talk about our experiences!